What Is Esophageal And Stomach Cancer?

What Is Esophageal & Stomach Cancer?

Quality Cancer Care in Orange County, CA

At Orange County CyberKnife, we put our patients’ health and well-being above everything else. As a world-class cancer treatment facility serving patients throughout the Orange County, CA area, we offer convenient, safe, and effective cancer treatment through the CyberKnife radiation therapy system. We’re proud to treat a wide variety of cancerous conditions at our facility, and if you or a loved one have been diagnosed with esophageal or stomach cancer, we’re here to help.

What is Esophageal Cancer?

The esophagus is a long, muscular tube connecting the trachea and the stomach, allowing food to pass down from the mouth to the stomach for digestion. The esophagus has muscles at either end which open and close to allow food to pass from the throat into the esophagus and on into the stomach. At the bottom of the esophagus, this muscle also serves to prevent stomach acids from leaking into the esophagus. If this muscle fails to function properly and acid does escape into the esophagus, it causes reflux, more commonly called heartburn. Chronic reflux puts the tissues at the bottom of the esophagus at a much higher risk of developing esophageal cancer, a condition called Barrett’s esophagus.

Esophageal cancer takes two forms: adenocarcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma. Adenocarcinoma makes up slightly more than 50% of cases, and it occurs in the glands at the bottom of the esophagus. Squamous cell carcinoma occurs in the top layer of the esophageal lining, and it may develop anywhere in the esophagus.

While esophageal cancer is fairly uncommon (accounting for only 1% of cancer cases in the US), it’s one of the more serious forms of cancer. The aggregate five-year survival rate for survival cancer is just 18%, although part of that is because esophageal cancer is often not diagnosed until it’s progressed and spread to other parts of the body. With prompt diagnosis and treatment, it’s possible to eliminate esophageal cancer.

Esophageal Cancer Risk Factors

Scientists don’t understand the exact causes of esophageal cancer, but there are a number of factors that can increase risk:

  • Men are three times as likely to develop esophageal cancer as women
  • Tobacco use
  • Barrett’s esophagus
  • Diets high in red meat and fat but low in fruits and vegetables
  • Excessive alcohol consumption
  • Obesity
  • Acid reflux disease

Stomach Cancer

After food passes through the esophagus, it enters the stomach, where it’s digested. Cancers of the stomach can take a variety of different forms, and they may have very different effects depending on what part of the stomach they originate in. It’s important to note that in medicine, the term “stomach” refers only to the actual organ. While some people may say they have a “stomach ache,” a doctor might instead call this abdominal pain, as the pain may originate in the appendix, intestine, colon, liver, or the stomach itself.

Adenocarcinoma is by far the most common form of stomach cancer, accounting for up to 95% of cases. This cancer begins in the innermost lining of the stomach, a layer called the mucosa. Other forms of stomach cancer include lymphoma, which develops in the stomach wall, gastrointestinal stromal tumors, which also start in the stomach wall, or carcinoid tumors, which start in the cells of the stomach that make hormones. Stomach cancer affects some 28,000 people each year, and 60% of cases are diagnosed in patients over 65 years old.

Stomach Cancer Risk Factors

A number of factors can increase a patient’s risk of developing stomach cancer, including:

  • Diet high in red meats and fats while low in fruits and vegetables
  • Tobacco use
  • Heavy alcohol use
  • Stomach surgery
  • Having blood type A
  • A history of polyps in the stomach
  • Exposure to dusts or fumes in the workplace or environment
  • Obesity
  • Hispanics, Asians, Pacific Islanders, and African-Americans have a higher risk

Schedule an Appointment with Your Orange County, CA Cancer Treatment Experts

Fighting cancer of any kind is scary – but no matter what you’re up against, you’re never fighting alone. At Orange County CyberKnife, we strive to provide comprehensive, compassionate cancer care to our patients, and the state-of-the-art CyberKnife system makes cancer treatment more effective and less disruptive than ever. If you’d like to find out more about the services we offer or schedule an appointment for a consultation or second opinion, we would be thrilled to hear from you. Call us today at 714.962.7100 for more information about our treatment center and services, or reach out to us at our contact page to schedule an appointment. We look forward to helping you beat cancer and reclaim a healthy, happy lifestyle – no matter what you’re fighting or what the odds.